The antepenultimate episode of Fargo’s second season shifted gears slightly, offering an in-between-quel of sorts that showed us what Ed, Peggy, Dodd, and Hanzee have been up to out on the road. A road trip! No… Well, sorta.
Aside from being one of this season’s most structurally experimental hours, the near-bottle episode “Loplop” gave Kirsten Dunst the opportunity to earn her Emmy Award. For those keeping track of at home, the number of people — above and below the line — who have earned Emmys on this season of Fargo is…everyone. Literally everyone has earned an Emmy this season, but Dunst makes as particularly compelling argument by delivering a fully actualized Peggy, which is so much more fun and twisted than I could have expected.
We begin to see the turn as she sits at home after the assault from the Gerhardts. Two men are dead, and Dodd has been prodded to sleep. After tying him up, Peggy has some time to reflect on the person that she wants to be, but that’s the problem. Or at least, that’s what the visage of John Hanley Sr. suggests is the problem. As one of the founders of Lifespring, Hanley emphasized feeling over rationality, which is just about as succinct of a description of Peggy as I can imagine.
The projected vision of Hanley that Peggy subs out for Dodd also manages to throw a little Camus into his talk to her, telling her that “he who seeks meaning finds nothing but contradiction and nonsense.” That is essentially the definition of absurdist philosophy, so perhaps some of Ed’s anxiety stemming from Noreen’s reading has transferred to Peggy and her hallucinations. But the words in that moment unlock something in her. She’s going to just be, instead of thinking.
This is who Ed finds when he finally makes it home after escaping from Lou and Hank. “This lady has lost her mind, brother,” Dodd tells him, shortly before getting knocked out.
Once on the road, Ed and Peggy realize what they have to do, but that’s not necessarily the same thing. And we see this dissonance play out in a split-screen sequence which was so perfectly written, directed, acted, and edited that you wonder how other shows look at themselves in the mirror. “I just have to keep us alive,” Ed says.
“You’re doing it, hon. We both are,” Peggy says. “We’re actualized.”
It’s a breakthrough moment for both, and they should take the win because there aren’t going to be many more of them during the rest of the trip.
NEXT: Hanzee’s coming…